Corruption and Illicit Trade Weakens Entrepreneurial Spirit


Director David M. Luna for Anticrime Programs and Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs today stressed that Corruption and illicit trade weakens entrepreneurial spirit that nurtures innovation, openness, and competitiveness and contributes to prosperous economies.

At the APEC Workshop on Investigating and Prosecuting Corruption and Illicit Trade: Stemming the Flows of Counterfeits and Dismantling Illicit Networks, Mr. Luna highlighted that corruption and illicit trade are barriers to the integrated commercial, transportation, and transactional systems that facilitate free trade and the movement of people throughout legitimate markets.

It is an honor as the 2011 APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency (ACT) Working Group Chair to co-host this workshop with Rodrigo Roque, the APEC Intellectual Property Experts Group (IPEG) Chair.

“Indeed, combating corruption and promoting good governance nurtures the overall business climate and promotes cleaner and more dynamic sectors.” -Mr. Luna

He cited that illicit market actors easily navigate between licit and illicit worlds, investing in legitimate industry and integrating themselves into communities, where they erode supply chain integrity and destabilize institutions through bribery, coercion, and corruption.

“In some cases, they even establish themselves as seemingly altruistic providers of security and basic services.” -Mr. Luna

He noted that criminal entrepreneurs and illicit networks also engage in bribery, fraud, and violence to corrupt or intimidate vital government institutions in order to gain the upper hand against competitive business. He said this cycle distort world’s markets, damaging the ability of legitimate firms to compete, and drives some legitimate small- and medium-sized enterprises out of the market in the APEC region.

“In our fight against the spread of counterfeit medicines, APEC economies must work together and with the private sector and other stakeholder interests not only to investigate and prosecute the illicit actors who produce and distribute counterfeits, but to ensure that all communities have access to safe and effective medicines.” -Mr. Luna

He stressed that excising corruption and illicit trade from the global market for goods and services requires all market actors-from businesses to governments to consumers-to act in harmony to restore supply chain control to legitimate businesses that have both the greatest knowledge of their supply chains and the greatest stake in their integrity.

“We applaud our growing partnership with the private sector and other stakeholders across APEC sub-fora to develop a full-spectrum approach to combating illicit trade that targets not only actors, but also the economic, political, and legal conditions that enable them to operate.” -Mr. Luna

He emphasized that the United States is committed to working with its APEC partners in government, the private sector, and other stakeholders to develop communities of vigilance that will promote greater integrity at every step of the supply chain and to ensure that only quality products enter our markets.

“We must ensure integrity throughout the complex web of producers, manufacturers, re-packagers and distributors, from raw materials to finished products.” -Mr. Luna

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